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Shortcake by Christopher Gorham Calvin
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Welcome to Eden. A city of high hopes and daring dreams, of wishful thinking and stark realities, a city of secrets for those dark enough to see…
Within these borders, a murderer's game is about to unfold. And at its center: two young children of science, one raised with caring love, the other with negligent compassion, and both equally endowed with the ability to kill. In just a few days time, each will be forced to stand for what they believe, the choices they embrace affecting the fate of the very foundation upon which Eden rests.
Destruction is looming in this modern day thriller of love and loss, of acceptance and understanding, and of the ultimate battle between what’s right and wrong, and the evolution of the intelligent mind which often straddles the fine line between them. Welcome to Eden. Welcome to Shortcake.

Too long...this book is unnecessarily too long! Why did the author have to torture his valuable readers with frilly and fluffy details that add nothing to the story? I found myself skipping a few paragraph here and there and I still did not feel that I missed anything important. I read this book on my Adobe Digital Editions and it eclipsed 700 pages! The annoying thing was that the first 300 pages was so boring, I kept falling asleep after about 50 pages or so.

To the author's credit, the story did pick up afterwards. I would say that the complexity of the story intrigued me and the way every minor plot intertwined with each other in the end was beautifully crafted. Sadly, it is not accompanied with fluid and gripping writing style. It is one of many skills that probably depends heavily on natural talent and honestly, I don't think the writer possesses it.

The title, Shortcake for me is quite inadequate to attract more readers and it also does not provide appropriate description of what this book is all about. I found none of the characters as appealing. Normally, I would vote for psychotic serial killers like Ray and Evan but they did not have the charm that many fictional serial killers have.

Some of the scenes are questionable as well such as when Ray hijacked the train to Eden. The police squad mentioned that they cannot do anything until the train reached its destination. I thought the police could ask the train conductor to stop at any stop before Eden and send their force at that stop. Even when Ray was on the loose in Eden, only the local policemen and Frank who tried to caught him but not the elite squad such as FBI.

Some of the dialogues were downright dry and sometimes irritating. For example;
Frank could see where this was leading: "I'm fired, am I? It's okay, you can just tell me. I respect you and this was completely my doing. I'm not going to hold it against you."
Come on! Frank supposed to be a determined police detective! What was that? An effort to be humble? It sounded to me as someone who is pessimistic and easily pushed around.

In short, this book is not that bad but as the first book from the author, that was reflected in his work. The book does contain some strong language and explicit descriptions, thus it may not be suitable for readers under 15 years of age.

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